Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fetal Echo Z-Score Calculator: Updated

Cardiac valve, chamber, and arch z-scores based on femur length; predicted LMP/EDD/EGA; LV/RV size discrepancy ratios.

This update provides the following functionality:

Fetal cardiac z-scores calculated from femur length

According to the source article, each of the independent variables (EGA, FL, BPD) had similar performance, with the regressions based on femur length being slightly superior. I have not yet compared the z scores across the two calculations- it is likely that minor differences exist between z-scores based on femur length, and those based on the derived EGA.

Femur length estimates of EGA, EDD, and LMP

Since the ICAEL guidelines require reporting of the EGA (and manner of determination), this is estimated according to this common citation: New charts for ultrasound dating of pregnancy. Without getting wrapped up in the subtleties of another field entirely, this reference seemed suitable . From the looks of it though, EGA predictions by femur length alone are open to some criticism.

Size discrepancy ratios

A common referral for fetal echocardiography is the discovery on routine ultrasound of a "size discrepancy" between the left and right ventricles. The authors of this new article Left Ventricle to Right Ventricle Size Discrepancy in the Fetus: The Presence of Critical Congenital Heart Disease Can Be Reliably Predicted suggest the use of easily calculated ratios as a simple manner for stratifying the various underlying lesions. Ratios of 0.6 for each of the sites (MV/TV, LV/RV, AoV/PV) appear to have good predictive value- particularly when used in combination with the transverse arch measurement and descriptions of the flow across the atrial septum.

The topic of z-scores is touched upon briefly with reference to the transverse arch. Although the data presented suggests that the arch z-scores were significantly different between groups (intervention vs. not), no cutoff values for the z-score are suggested. It is interesting (to me) that the stated z-scores in the intervention vs. non groups is –4.7 vs. –3.2 (or, the difference between the 0.0001 percentile and the 0.0687 percentile !!). If one uses the normal boundaries of the 5th and 95th cumulative percentiles (z-scores of ±1.65), or the more liberal 2.3-97.3 percentiles (z scores of ±2), even the non-intervention group seems way out there.

It is also interesting to me that the chamber size and valve z-scores weren't discussed- at all. Many of the referrals for 'size discrepancy' seem more imagined than real, and z-scores of the left heart structures ought to provide evidence of normality, even if things appear discrepant. Along those lines, I am looking forward to the manuscript to follow this abstract: Fetal Cardiac Growth: New Z-Score Ranges From 3,000 Normal Pregnancies.

You can find the updated z-score calculator here:

ParameterZ.com Fetal Echo Z-Score Calculator